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When buying a used car, always:

  • Ask to see proof of the seller's identity and address - an official letter or driving licence, for example
  • Make sure the car's VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) matches that on the registration document

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), formerly known as the chassis number, is a unique 17 character number issued to every vehicle by the manufacturer. 

Finding the VIN:

  • Stamped on the body chassis or frame
  • On a manufacturer's VIN plate under the bonnet or fixed to the post between the front and rear doors
  • On an additional plate fixed securely to the top corner of the dashboard where it can easily be seen through the windscreen - this is called a visible VIN

When buying a car, always check that the VIN has not been tampered with and that it matches that on the registration document (V5).


  • Let the seller bring the car to you, as you may need to confirm their address details. Buy a car without the registration document (V5) - make sure it has a DVLA watermark and has not been altered in any way
  • View a car before you've read "The Car Buyers Guide" - we suggest you take a copy with you as a reminder to ask the right questions

Buying a new car

We advise you to consider the following security features:

  • Electronic engine immobilisation
  • Locking wheel nuts
  • Secure in-car entertainment
  • Lockable fuel caps
  • Central locking
  • Security etching
  • Deadlocks
  • Alarms

You should ensure your car has as many of these features as possible. Speak to your insurer about security - some systems may reduce your premium.

Think about fitting a vehicle tracking system if you are buying a particularly expensive car or one that might be attractive to thieves.